Writer’s Meme

Which is not the same thing as Writer’s Block.  In fact, it’s the opposite because now I don’t have to come up with a topic for Day 8 of the August Blogging Challenge put forth by Dani of Blogbooktours.   Dani is like a shark when it comes to researching useful and interesing networking tools online – she never stops.  If she did, I suspect she’d sink to the bottom of the cybersea and drown.   

Here’s a modifed writers meme for members of the August Blog Challenge, three of whom get tagged at the end. These are my answers:

1) Computer, longhand, or other?
Computer or my beloved Alphasmart when I’m on the Muni.  I’ll sometimes take notes longhand if I’m out and about and remember to take a notebook with me, but this is sometimes counterproductive because my handwriting is so awful I can’t always decipher what I’ve written!

2) Coffee or tea?
Er…what about wine? 

I have a mocha first thing in the morning and will sometimes make a pot of coffee.  If writing at night, I have a glass or two of wine and sip on it while I work.  I like tea in the afternoons (I’m getting addicted to Peet’s Jasmine Downy Pearls green tea) with a couple of cookies as a treat. 

3) Day or night?
I prefer to write in the day, but because I work full time most of my writing is down between 6 and 9pm.  On weekends set aside for writing, both!  I tend to fall asleep early, though. 

4) Favorite genre to write?
Mysteries (humorous cozies), although I’m liking the paranormal/horror as well.  Main thing for me is humor in whatever I write. 

5) Pencil or pen to edit?

6) Unusual writing quirk or trait?
I invariably work with at least one cat on my lap.

7) Writing from home or writing in a cozy café?
I am a big time homebody.  I like to set my ‘office’ up, light candles, put on music, and tune out the world.  I don’t think I could tune out the conversations going around me and I’d be bound to find myself writing ‘Can you hear me?…Yeah, I’m at STARbucks…’ when some loud idiot gets on his or her cell…

8) Music or silence while your write?
Music! I love film scores.  I wrote MURDER FOR HIRE while listening to The Witches of Eastwick, which is a John Williams score. 

9) Favorite motivational writing quote?
Writing equals ass plus chair. 

10) Favorite bookmark?
Sigh.  I’m so bad about using bookmarks.  I’m an evil corner of the page folder downer (if they’re my books; I don’t do it with books I borrow) or if it has a book jacket, I use the front flap. I have dozens of bookmarks from my own promotional stockpile and from other writers.  I love pretty bookmarks in theory, though… 

11) Favorite fictional character of all time?
Oh jeez louise…  that’s just mean.  I will only answer this with the caveat that this changes with my mood.  So at 8:55 am on 8/8/08, my favorite fictional character of all time is Scarlett O’Hara. 

12) Most admired living writer today?
Another answer that will change depending on my mood.  Today it’s Stephen King for his succinct and dead-on descriptions.  His plots sometimes leave me cold, but when it comes to the actual craft of writing, he’s my man. 

I am tagging:

 Elysabeth, Marvin and Michelle.  

My Brains Are Leaking

I happened to catch a few minutes of TEQUILA, A SHOT AT LOVE II, a reality show based around pseudo-celebrity Tila Tequila’s (something about having the most friends on MySpace – I don’t know, I don’t wanna know) search for true love.  I’m still not sure what I did in this life or a past one to have deserved the assault on my eyeballs, brain and other sensibilities. but it had to have been bad.

My first glimpse of this train-wreck of a reality series was of a bunch of 20-something guys and gals (none of them rate high enough on  the maturity scale to be called ‘men’ and ‘women’ ) partying in the house of Ms. Tequila.  Every other word was bleeped out.   Frat boys, trailer trash, girls with nicknames like ‘Glitter’ ’cause, like, y’know, they wear glittery make-up everyday (insert majorly vapid giggle here), guys who think it’s funny to throw eggs at people during breakfast and whose idea of an apology is something the lines of “You need to chill out, bitch!”

Ah, the class.  These people make Paris Hilton (at least post DUI Paris Hilton) seem downright classy.  Lindsay Lohan would be right at home with ’em.  Brittany Spears…oh heck, I’m leaving her alone.  She’s been picked on enough lately.

Seriously, though, this show was offensive, disturbing and yet somehow vapid at the same time.   We, the audience, are supposed to care about Tila Tequila’s love life as she holds contests to find out which of these 20 idiots will be her true love.  She’s bi-sexual, so girls and guys have an equal shot to win her affections.  I’m not sure what kind of contests  – I didn’t see any of the contests.  I have no idea what her criteria  is; if her taste in romantic partners is anything along the lines of her taste in tattoos (she has two of the largest and ugliest tattoos I’ve seen on a woman and I have nothing against tattoos), she’ll probably pick Jake or Bo, two of the most obnoxious examples of walking penises I’ve ever seen.   They reminded me of a description Stephen King used to describe a group of boys who were lighting their farts and laughing; King described their laughter as ‘troll-like.’   A more perfect turn of phrase does not exist to describe Jake and Bo.

I am not a snob.  I used to watch BLIND DATE quite gleefully (partly because the producers had a sense of humor with their thought balloons and pithy host).    On the other hand, I hated THIRD WHEEL and ELIMIDATE because they played to the lowest common denominator; the contestants with any iota of class were voted out early and the ones willing to do lap dances and stick their tongues down one another’s throats generally won.   Only skanky whores (male and female) need apply.

What really disturbs me the most about shows like SHOT AT LOVE, though, is the lack of civility and anything even vaguely resembling basic manners and day to day common courtesy.  We live in a country and a society where it’s okay to be rude and to name-call.  It’s fine to speak one’s mind, unless the wrong – or the right – person disagrees, especially when politics are involved.  America has become an odd mixture of ‘we’ll say what we want to’ and ‘if you disagree, you’re a traitor/idiot/commie/bad person.   Oh, just think Ann Coulter.   I don’t care what political party she supports; her manners are atrocious.  She’s a nasty little stick-insect with the morals and ethics of a sociopath and the fact she’s been encouraged is…well, it’s wrong.   Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with her point of view really is beside the point.  It’s the total lack of manners and civility (and possibly sanity) that’s so disturbing.

And the total lack of common courtesy and, again, civility, is what I find so disgusting about A SHOT AT LOVE.

Maybe there were a lot more kids like that when I was in my teens and twenties.  I hung out with the drama crowd, renaissance faire and other assorted groups labeled as geeks.   The one time I dated a jock (we went to his Senior Prom) word came back that while he’d had a good time, he really wished he’d ‘taken someone who would have done it.’    Sure I got sick of hearing ‘huzzah!’ and ‘ho, wench!’  And there were definitely the Ren Faire versions of frat boys out there.  But the world of Ren Faires included chivalry along with the beer, turkey legs and jousting.  Flirtations were playful and there was at least a veneer of respect involved — unless you got the drunken frat knight shoving his hand down the wrong wench’s bodice.  I was a swordfighter, so I rarely had that problem.

I haven’t been involved in the Ren Faire world for years now; it may have changed.  For all I know, it’s become a costumed version of A SHOT AT LOVE and all the other sleazy reality shows out there.  I hope not.  I’m really hoping there’s still a shot at bringing civility back into America, both on and off television.